The Maryland State Senate has approved, with amendment, a bill previously passed by the House of Delegates. House Bill 34, would give homeowner associations the right to collect a fee relating to inspections during the resale process. The version passed by the House would entitle an HOA to charge “a reasonable fee not to exceed $100 for an inspection of the low owner’s lot if required.” The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee changed the maximum amount of the fee to $50, and added “if the inspection is required by the governing documents of the homeowners association.” As reported in a prior post, the House of Delegates passed its version by a 85 – 44 vote.
By a vote of 135-1, the Maryland House of Delegates has passed House Bill 651, which would require condominiums and homeowner associations to conduct reserve studies of the common elements and common areas. As discussed in an earlier post, the new law would provide that, within 90-days of the meeting at which the unit owners assume control of the council, a reserve study must be conducted of the common elements, and the condominium must conduct a reserve study every five years thereafter. Condominiums established before October 1, 2017 that had a reserve study conducted on or after October 1, 2013 are required to undertake an additional reserve study five years after the previous one, and every five years thereafter. Condominiums established before October 1, 2017 that have not had a reserve study undertaken on or after October 1, 2013 must conduct a reserve study on or before October 1, 2018, and every five years thereafter.
Also under the bill, similar reserve study requirements would be established for the common areas in homeowner associations.
By a vote of 135-0, the Maryland House of Delegates has passed legislation that would reduce the percentage of affirmative votes required to amend condominium bylaws. Under Section 11-104(e) of the Maryland Condominium Act, condominium bylaws may only be amended upon a vote of two-thirds (66 2/3 percent) of the unit owners. House Bill 789 would reduce this to 55 percent. Significantly, it would also permit the bylaws themselves to establish a percentage as low as 51%. Additionally, the bill would limit the voting to members in “good standing, ” which is defined as not being more than 90 days in arrears with regard to assessment payments. The original version of the bill would have also allowed voting to be denied to any member in violation of a provision of the declaration, bylaws or rules and regulations, but this provision was removed in the final version that was approved.
The proposed legislation contains similar provisions to reduce the percentage vote required for bylaw amendments under Section 11B-116 of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act.
Pitchers and catchers report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida today as the Baltimore Orioles begin spring training for the 2017 season; so it is time for me to step back from condo law for a moment and provide my annual commentary on the state of the team. This year, I would like to focus on completing the position-player roster. Here are the current options as I see them: (more…)
Effective January 1, Ober|Kaler joined the national firm, Baker Donelson. The combined firm maintains the name Baker Donelson and has more than 800 attorneys across 25 offices in ten states and Washington, D.C. I am excited and privileged to begin 2017 as a Baker Donelson shareholder in their Baltimore office, and look forward to continuing communications and sharing of information with the many readers and followers of this blog.
My firm, Ober Kaler, will be combining with the well-respected national law firm Baker Donelson. The Baker Donelson firm presently has more than 700 attorneys and public policy advisors representing more than 30 practice areas across 21 offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. This combination will bring together two strong firms with national reputations for exceptional client service. It is anticipated that this combination will be effective January 1, 2017. The combined firm, which will maintain the name of Baker Donelson, will rank among the 50 largest law firms in the country, with more than 800 attorneys and advisors across 25 offices in nine states as well as Washington, D.C. I am looking forward to continuing my construction, litigation and real estate practice as part of this dynamic merger.